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Capital Kunst des Fechtens

an historical european martial arts club dedicated to
 STUDY and Modern application

WELCOME TO CAPITAL KUNST DES FECHTENS

   

Who We Are

Capital Kunst des Fechtens (CKDF) is the largest non-profit Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) club in the eastern U.S. 


 

What We Teach

CKDF primarily studies martial techniques based on historical source material that demonstrate efficient and deadly sword fighting and other martial arts called Kunst des Fechtens (KDF), or the art of fighting. 
 

What We Do

CKDF provides a welcoming environment, world-class instructors, and a structured, athletic approach to learning a form of Historical European Martial Arts (sword fighting and other combat styles) that developed in the Medieval Germanic regions.

 

Where We Study

We are located south of Washington, DC in Alexandria, Virginia.

We train in the Capital Area Budokai at
25 S. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA 22304


About HEMA

The study of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) is the academic study of ancient fight manuals or fechtbucher (fight-books) and the practice of recreating and learning the skills of the ancient European fight masters. 

Watch the video to learn more.

 
 


Affiliations

CKDF is part of the HEMA Alliance, an educational not-for-profit organization that provides independent clubs and schools worldwide with resources; the KDF Network; and the Longpoint Historical Fencing League.

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Classes Offered at CKDF

 
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What to Expect

  • Rigorous strength and cardio conditioning
  • Fencing fundamentals and mechanics
  • Technical interpretation drills; 
  • Sparring games
  • Coached free fencing

 

What You Need for Class

  • Comfortable active wear
  • Clean athletic (indoor) shoes
  • Water Bottle
  • Men are required to wear athletic cups to every class
  • CKDF has fencing masks and synthetic swords for students to use 

You don't need to be in the best shape to start training with us.


Introduction to German Longsword

INTRODUCTION TO GERMAN LONGSWORD

This six-week course is recommended for all those new to HEMA. Students will learn the basics of longsword terminology, attacks, parries, footwork, and simple combinations.

When: Course meets weekly on Thursday at 8:00p (Next course begins Summer 2017) 

Instructor: Jake Norwood

Price: $135/ $110 for current CKDF members

Equipment: No equipment necessary. Club provides mask and sword.

 


Membership Classes

After completing the introductory course, students are invited to become full members and attend our weekly classes.

GEMEINFECHTEN - INTERMEDIATE LONGSWORD

Gemeinfechten, or common fencing, lays the groundwork for longsword fighters.  In this class, members learn the basics of footwork, cuts, thrusts, and defenses common to the German style of longsword fencing.

When: Classes meet Thursdays at 8p.

Instructors: Jake Norwood, James Clark, and Karl Bolle

Price: $50 monthly membership dues

Equipment: Feder (wood, synthetic, or steel), HEMA fencing mask, HEMA or lacrosse gloves). CKDF has masks and synthetic feders for students to use.

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KUNST DES FECHTENS (KDF) - ADVANCED LONGSWORD

KDF applies skills learned in Gemeinfechten to the teachings of German fight master Johannes Liechtenauer.   Instruction includes advanced martial theory, drills, tournament preparation, judging, coaching, cutting, and intense sparring.

When: Mondays at 8p

Instructor: Jake Norwood

Price: $50 monthly membership dues

Equipment:  Tournament kit, including, but not limited to, feder (steel preferred), HEMA fencing mask, HEMA-approved jacket, HEMA gloves, throat protection, arm and leg protection


Study Groups

Students interested in martial systems not offered during regular class times may start study groups.  Study groups are included in montly membership dues.  Montante and Polearms classes are offered at off-site locations.  Contact us for additional information. 

MONTANTE (GreatSword) 

When: Saturday at 9:30a 

Instructor: James Clark

Equipment: Students should have montante, staff, or two-handed equivalent

 

italian rapier

When: Thursday at 6p

Instructor: Chris Treichel 

Equipment: Students must provide rapier. Chest protection is recommended.

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Polearms

When: Tuesday at 8p

Instructor: William Buschur 

Equipment: Students must provide HEMA Mask and HEMA or lacrosse gloves.

Ringen and dagger

When: Sunday at 9a

Instructor: Chris Dyer

Equipment: None required. CKDF has rondel daggers for use in class.


Special Topic Courses and Master Workshops

SPECIAL TOPICS

Every two months, CKDF offers a new special topic course to introduce students to a new aspect of HEMA.  Past classes have included Polish Saber and Italian Rapier.

When: Course meets weekly on Thursday at 830p 

Instructor: Varies

Price: $125-150

Recommended Equipment:  Varies

Our next special topics class is Messer starting May 2017.

MASTER WORKSHOPS

Visiting, world-class instructors periodically grace CKDF members with master workshops. Previous instructors included: Mishael Lopes-Cardozo, Kristine Konsmo, and Axel Petterson.

 When: Varies

Instructor: Varies

Price: Varies

Recommended Equipment:  Varies

 New student night is the first Thursday of the month at 8p.

Class Schedule

DAY TIME CLASS LEAD INSTRUCTOR
M 8p Kunst Des Fechtens Jake Norwood
Tu 7-8a Physical Training Independent Study
8-930p Polearm Study Group William Buschur
W 8:30-10p Special Topics Course Jake Norwood
Th 6-8p Italian Rapier Study Group Christopher Treichel
8-930p Gemeinfechten Jake Norwood, James Clark, Karl Bolle
Fri 7-8a Physical Training Independent Study
Sa 930a Montante Study Group James Clark
Su 9a Ringen and Coached Sparring Chris Dyer and Various

 

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Featured in the New York Times

Back to the Source - A Documentary on HEMA

CKDF Instructors

 
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Jake Norwood is an internationally known competitor and instructor in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), with more than 30 medals from national and international full-contact competitions. His students are among the top competitors in the U.S. 

A multi-tour combat veteran of the 101st Airborne, Jake combines the training regimen and psychological toughness of the modern warrior to the reconstruction and physical application of Europe’s traditional fighting arts.

Karl Bolle is the Longpoint, DC HEMA Open, and Combat Con 2016 champion in advanced target cutting, and has earned multiple medals in cutting and single-handed weapon competitions.

Karl Bolle is the Longpoint, DC HEMA Open, and Combat Con 2016 champion in advanced target cutting, and has earned multiple medals in cutting and single-handed weapon competitions.

James Clark is an internationally-recognized expert in the Portuguese great sword (montante).  He has earned multiple medals in cutting and longsword. He is a certified personal trainer.

James Clark is an internationally-recognized expert in the Portuguese great sword (montante).  He has earned multiple medals in cutting and longsword. He is a certified personal trainer.

Chris Treichel specializes in teaching Italian rapier, French smallsword, and German Stossfechten and is currently studying and teaching under Tom Leoni at the Order of Seven Hearts.  He is  a former Marine Corps infantry officer

Chris Treichel specializes in teaching Italian rapier, French smallsword, and German Stossfechten and is currently studying and teaching under Tom Leoni at the Order of Seven Hearts.  He is  a former Marine Corps infantry officer

William Buschur is a student instructor who leads the German polearm study group. The study group focuses on the individual use of staff, spear, halberd, and pike. William is a Maryland attorney.

William Buschur is a student instructor who leads the German polearm study group. The study group focuses on the individual use of staff, spear, halberd, and pike. William is a Maryland attorney.

CKDF Photo Gallery

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm brand new to HEMA and indeed martial arts in general! How do I start with CKDF?

Email us at info@capitalkdf.org! You're welcome to come to our Thursday classes at 8PM. You'll be paired with an instructor who will show you the basics. The first class is free, but if you like it, you'll be welcome to continue in the regular Thursday night class with beginner and intermediate students. Just shoot us an email to get started.

Where are classes held, and what is The Budokai?

Classes are held at the Capital Area Budokai, 25 S. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA.  It's pretty easy find parking on the street -- just check the signs to make sure you are in a legal spot. We ask that visitors avoid parking in the lot until we can tell you which spots are safe to use.  Enter the building (the entrance is to the right of Rockland's Bar-be-que).  Turn right when you enter the lobby.  We are the first gym to the left in the right hallway.

We share space with The Capital Area Budokai, a Japanese martial arts club. We ask that our members be respectful of the space and wear only indoor shoes or go barefoot in the Budokai. 

What should I wear to class?

Wear comfortable athletic clothes and a pair of indoor shoes. Men are required to wear an athletic cup in every class.

Am I going to get beat up?

In your first class you will not get beat up, but you will get to use a sword on an opponent. Even in subsequent classes, where members have minimal gear, you will not get beat up. A major part of our training consists of developing control of our weapons and bodies through slow-speed sparring. Only later, with proper gear, do members engage in full-speed sparring.

Please note: HEMA is a martial art that involves swinging swords at others and you may receive bruises or get hurt. However, we take every precaution to prevent injury and it is very rare to receive anything worse than a bruise from our classes.

I've got my card out and a shopping cart full of HEMA gear! What should I buy to do HEMA with you?!

Don't buy any HEMA gear before talking to us first! We have our finger on the pulse of the HEMA gear market and seek to save our members money by ordering directly from distributors. Often, we can save money on gear orders if you go through us! Please talk to us before making any purchases.